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6/24/2019

Suikoden V Bonus: Character Breakdown

Tenkai Star - The Prince (Freyjadour)
A bit more fragile than your usual Suikoden protagonist, but he can chain together combos of up to five hits, giving him substantial damage potential as a mid-range fighter.  He also has two free rune slots and is decent (but not great) with all magic elements, making him a versatile if unexceptional character.  His Dawn Rune is at its most useful in war battles, where it will damage all enemies and heal all allies in its area of effect.  It has some powerful Level 3 and 4 spells too, though you won't see those until nearly the end of the game.
Rating: ****

Tenei Star - Lyon
Lyon is similar to the Prince in many ways, though a bit more durable and less magic-capable (not gaining a Head rune slot until Level 45).  She can also do five-hit combos and has numerous synergies with the Prince (entering Fury status if he dies and blocking some attacks directed at him).  Generally useful but not outstanding, but as she's by your side throughout most of the game, it's in your interest to make the most of her.
Rating: ****

Chikou Star - Sairoh
Mostly notable for having an annoying luck-based requirement to recruit him, Sairoh serves as your castle's trader.  When added to your convoy, he lets you "trade in" items in the field for cash instead of simply disarming them, which can be somewhat useful.  Not a fighter by any means, though.
Rating: N/A

Tenmou Star - Boz Wilde
Boz serves as one of your first war leaders, leading a Spear unit (a slower but stronger Infantry unit) or a Ram ship in naval battles, both with the Charge skill.  Does his job well enough, but isn't a small-scale fighter at any point.
Rating: N/A

Chikai Star - Luserina Barows
Luserina is a utility character, letting you manage your party at the castle.  In war battles she'll grant an Attack+5 boost to any unit she's assigned to.  Both handy, but she's no fighter.
Rating: N/A

Chiraku Star - Cornelio
Cornelio is a relatively competent mage who gets three rune slots, but he's also primarily based around a gimmick - his unique DoReMi rune, which allows him to cast more powerful spells the more DoReMi elves are in the party.  The most powerful of these is Concerto, which deals a hefty 1500 damage to all enemies on the field, but also requires 4 DoReMi elves in the active party, filling most of your team with characters barely a step above dead weight.  Basically, he's just a novelty character who doesn't really come in handy, especially when so many better mage characters are available even early on in the game.    However, he does unlock the music test once you've found all five elves, so it may be worth pursuing his subplot for that at least.
Rating: **

Chitan Star - Logg
A character you'll use a few times in the game (whether you want to or not), but he at least tries to be worth your while with his decent strength and high HP.  Has Unite attacks with Lun and Kisara that are also pretty effective.  You probably won't use him too much other than times he's required, but he certainly isn't bad when you need him.
Rating: **

Chikaku Star - Lunn
Another average fighter type, Lunn also grants two uses of the Recover ability in war battles, making her useful for support there.  Also a decent spellcaster in the early stages, though you get much better options in relatively short order.
Rating: **

Chikai Star - Cius
"Average across the board" pretty much sums him up.  He gets a unite attack with Lelei and is a passable infantry leader when you have no other options, but you probably won't use him much.
Rating: **

Chifuku Star - Lelei
Like Cius, Lelei's is an overall mediocre character, though she does at least get the benefit of the Viper rune, which has roughly a 33% chance to instantly kill an opponent.  She also has the Analyze skill, which lets you see how much HP enemies have.  A slightly better character than Cius, but still not particularly useful.
Rating: **

Tenki Star - Lucretia Merces
Your tactician and an important character story-wise, but she doesn't fight.  In war battles, though, she grants the powerful Frenzy ability, which gives the unit she's assigned to a combined Attack+5, Defense+5 and Mobility+1 bonus.
Rating: N/A

Tengou Star - Raja
A powerful ally in sea battles for much of the game, she commands an A-rank archer ship and can attack at range with Barrage.  Not a small-scale fighter, though.
Rating: N/A

Chisatsu Star - Kisara
One of your first good mages, and honestly a pretty decent one for a good chunk of the game - she's great with water and good with most other elements.  Unfortunately, she's rather quickly outclassed by Zerase, so she doesn't have long to shine.  But she can still prove her worth on the battlefield as a decent archer unit on land or sea.
Rating: ***

Chimou Star - Takamu
A very useful supporting character, as he improves your world map and having him in your party lets you flee from any battle, saving you a lot of time and frustration.  Having him around is also necessary to recruit a few other characters.  Doesn't fight, though.
Rating: N/A

Chichin Star - Josephine
One of the very first characters you can recruit, but she doesn't really come in handy too much.  While her magic stats are decent, she's stuck with the rather unhelpful Red Rose Rune and doesn't get another slot until Level 20.  Worse, she has light armor, low physical stats and a weak, short-ranged weapon.  Basically, you'll probably just get her for the Tablet and that's it.
Rating: **

Chihei Star - Egbert Aethelbald
Egbert can be used as a war leader, but as he's C-Rank Cavalry or Ram Ship, you probably have much better options available.  He is invaluable as part of your convoy, however, as he will make any enemies you defeat drop more money.  Not a small-scale battler.
Rating: N/A

Chiyu Star - Shinro
Shinro opens an item shop at your castle, which is handy.  When in your convoy, he turns the Drop command into Trade-in, which lets you get money as if you'd sold an item when you dispose of it; also handy.  But he truly shines on the battlefield, where his Extra ability lets you use his units' special abilities one extra time, making him a great boon to units with powerful skills (like the Prince's Dawn rune or Viki's Cyclone).  Doesn't take part in small-scale fights, though.
Rating: N/A

Tenko Star - Kyle
Kyle has solid physical stats and even a decent magic stat, complete with a Water Rune, make him a versatile character.  This carries over to war battles too, where he works as a B-rank Infantry leader, gets a +5 attack bonus as a General, and can use Recover.  He doesn't stand out too much, but he's a good, dependable character in any battle.
Rating: ***

Chison Star - Chuck
Chuck runs your storage room, which lets you manage your inventory and get things you can't use yet out of your own pockets to free some much-needed space.  Duels the prince at one point but doesn't fight otherwise.
Rating: N/A

Chiyu Star - Norden
He maybe a drunkard, but he can prove his worth on the battlefield as a B-rank Infantry leader with a Charge ability and a +5 defense bonus.  That's about all he does, though.
Rating: N/A

Chiyu Star - Oboro
One of the more annoying characters to recruit, as you just have little choice but to keep pestering him until he finally gives in.  At your castle he will find rumors on your recruits for a fee, and in battle he gives the Rumors ability, which gives the enemy a -10 Defense penalty.  Doesn't fight in smaller battles, though.
Rating: N/A

Chizen Star - Fuyo
Fuyo joins with Oboro, and will play the Feitas tile mini-game with you at your HQ.  Grants the Rumors bonus in battle, too.  And that's... it.
Rating: N/A

Chikou Star - Shigure
The third of the detectives, and while he can be quite powerful if you're lucky enough to recruit him early, his overall mediocre stats ensure he won't be once the rest of your party catches up.  He's not a great general in war battles, but he does grant the Ambush ability when part of a unit, which is handy at times.
Rating: **

Tensyo Star - Zegai
Zegai is a great character to have.  His strength, skill and HP are all quite high, letting him dish out the damage, while his signature Wrath Rune boosts his longevity and damage further.  But more importantly, he serves as your combat skill trainer, letting your fighters reach the peak of their potential.  He's no slouch on the battlefield either, giving the Charge ability and an Attack bonus and serving as a B-Rank Spear unit leader.  He's a great fighter, and he makes the rest of your fighters better; what else needs to be said?
Rating: ***

Chisyun Star - Sorensen
Sorensen doesn't look like too much, but he is a surprisingly decent character in the midgame.  His weapon is deceptively powerful and can hit up to four times, while on the battlefield he can command a Ballista unit - basically a better Archer.  He also grants the Catapult ability (a longer-ranged and more powerful version of Barrage).  He'll become less useful as better units become available, but he's fun while he lasts.
Rating: **

Chitatsu Star - Viki
A useful character who teleports you to any previously-visited town, Viki is also one of the game's strongest mages.  With a very high Magic stat and the unique Chain Magic ability (which can cause any of her cast spells to fire twice), she can deal out an insane amount of damage.  Unfortunately, her non-removable Blinking rune prevents her from using one of the almighty Magic Absorb runes, hampering her usefulness outside of boss battles.  She does make up for this, however, by casting Cyclone in war battles, which damages an enemy and heals her own unit by 50%.  A solid character in either role.
Rating: ****

Tenkai Star - Zerase
Zerase is, simply put, the best character in Suikoden V.  Her magic stat is ridiculously high and she comes armed with the unique and powerful Star rune, letting her devastate enemies from the get-go. But pair that with her also having two other Rune slots available straight out of the gate, one of which can be fitted with a Magic Absorb rune, and you have an extremely versatile and deadly character.  She can deal damage with Star, heal the party with a Flowing Rune, and get spent MP back with Magic Absorb to keep both coming in endless supply.  Her Star is no less deadly on the battlefield, damaging all enemies in a radius around her for a significant amount.  There is pretty much nothing that can stand in your way when she's well-equipped, and given how early on you recruit her, that's pretty ridiculous.
Rating: *****

Chikatsu Star - Lorelai
Lorelai is another decent-but-not-great-at-anything character, though she does come armed with a powerful Lightning Rune and the Treasure Hunt ability, which makes enemies more likely to drop items while she's around.  On the battlefield she grants the Weakness ability, which gives enemies her unit fights a -5 Defense penalty.  You'll have to use her a few times, and she won't let you down then, but you probably won't pick her of your own volition too often.
Rating: **

Chisoku Star - Zweig
Much like Lorelai, Zweig is a required party member for a few segments and is fairly average overall, proving decent at everything but not great at anything.  He is an alright mage, but comes with no Runes, and even has the same supportive abilities as Lorelai (Treasure Hunt and Weakness).  Not much else to say, really.
Rating: **

Chiman Star - Muroon
One of the six Beavers in the game, and a magically-inclined one at that, though his affinities for everything but Water spells are low.  None of his other stats are terribly impressive either.  However, he is invaluable as part of a Beaver unit in sea battles, granting his team two uses of the Gnaw ability (which damages ship and weakens their defenses).  Situational, but awesome when it's his time to shine.
Rating: **

Tenki Star - Talgeyl
A war leader who runs a B-Rank Rune Archer unit (or ship) and can use the Mother Earth rune, which deals hefty damage to land units at range.  Not a small-scale fighter.
Rating: N/A

Chitou Star - Goesch
A lot of HP, a lot of Strength, and can equip heavy armor.  He does well in the front row, and isn't too shabby on the battlefield either, running a B-rank Spear or Ram unit and granting the Charge ability as a General.  A competent if mostly unremarkable fighter.
Rating: **

Chirei Star - Silva
Silva only really comes into play in war battles, where her Relief ability lets a unit recover 10 HP after a clash with the enemy, bolstering their longevity.  Handy, but it won't do you any good if the unit is wiped out.
Rating: N/A

Tenkou Star - Toma
Toma only gets to shine on the Battlefield, where his Survival ability boosts his unit's Defense as their HP falls lower.
Rating: N/A

Tenbou Star - Wilhelm
One of your best leaders on the battlefield, running an A-rank Cavalry or Ram unit and granting the Charge ability on top.  Doesn't fight outside of big battles.
Rating: N/A

Tenkoku Star - Mueller
Another great boon on the battlefield, leading a B-rank Cavalry or Ram, having the Charge ability and granting an Attack+5 bonus when used as a General.  Won't aid you for smaller fights, though.
Rating: N/A

Chikei Star - Subala
Decent fighter in smaller battles, gives Charge in war battles.  Lets you play the fishing minigame at the castle, which is a decent way to farm money and is required to recruit another couple characters.  Good but not great.
Rating: **

Chisei Star - Bastan
Appraises unknown items for you.  And that's... all.
Rating: N/A

Chiri Star - Zunda
Zunda lets you switch out "windows", which lets you change how the in-game UI looks.  Can also grant a Speed bonus in war battles if that's your thing.
Rating: N/A

Tenan Star - Belcoot
A good, solid fighter with high stats to that effect, the ability to chain 3 hits, as well as the strength to equip heavy armor and a built-in Falcon rune, and he parries and counters attacks like few others can.  In war battles he proves his worth too, leading a B-rank Infantry or Combat Ship, adding the Charge ability and a +5 Attack bonus as a general.  A good character for much of the game, though somewhat vulnerable to magic.
Rating: ***

Chihi Star - Marina
Belcoot's number one fan aids you in the convoy by healing a small amount of your party's HP every turn.  Grants the Rest ability in war battles, which causes a unit to regenerate 1 HP every 5 seconds.  Both are handy but not amazing.
Rating: N/A

Chisui Star - Alhazred
An okay mage with three available slots but only passable magic-oriented stats.  Casts Mother Earth in war battles, and reads Old Books at the castle to give you some worldly lore.  Fun from a story perspective, but not so great otherwise.
Rating: **

Chian Star - Richard
Richard could be aptly described as "the human brick wall".  His Evasion stat is the best in the game and his Skill is the second-highest, meaning he'll block, counter or dodge almost every physical attack thrown his way.  His Swallow rune lets him deal double-damage or instant kill to an enemy, and he can hit up to four times with a combo.  He's great on the battlefield too, granting a +9 Attack boost when used as a general.  Give him a Firefly rune and he'll keep your back-row fighters safe from almost anything.
Rating: ****

Chihi Star - Genoh
One of the obligatory giant monster characters that seem to appear in every Suikoden game, Genoh is what you'd expect from a giant turtle - strong, durable, lots of HP, but abysmal speed and evasion.  He also has the unique Parent Turtle rune, which can protect your party from status effects.  Oddly, he also gets a Unite Attack with Viki, and in War Battles can grant a use of the Flowing rune or serve as a C-Rank Rune Archer general.  Probably the better of the two monster characters, but not super useful on the whole.
Rating: **

Chijyu Star - Murad
Murad's a solid support character with the Relief ability, which restores your party's HP after every battle.  He's no fighter, though.
Rating: N/A

Tenpai Star - Orok
A decent (B-Rank) Infantry leader with the Muddle ability (which weakens enemies' Attack), but that's all he really does.
Rating: N/A

Tenken Star - Volga
Another B-Rank general who leads a Spear/Ram ship and, when used as a General, grants +5 Attack.  He also gives you the Charge ability, which is pretty much standard.  Not much to say otherwise.
Rating: N/A

Tenzai Star - Wasil
Another B-rank general, this time as an Archer unit with the Barrage ability!
Rating: N/A

Chiyu Star - Mohsen
Mohsen opens the armor shop at your castle, which is quite useful, and if traveling with you, he lets you use the Trade In skill.  In war battles he gives the defense-boosting Fortify special ability.
Rating: N/A

Chiketsu Star - Jeane
One of the franchise's most recurring characters, Jeane is a very capable mage.  While her non-removable Charm rune is pretty "meh", she can use a Magic Absorb rune and still have a slot left over to do what she wishes with - Cyclone to heal the party and deal damage at the same time, Rage to pile on damage, Mother Earth to negate enemy spells, and so forth.  She's also quite good in war battles, leading a B-rank Rune Archer unit and casting the Thunder spell to deal heavy damage to enemies.  A solid character on the whole.
Rating: ***

Chiyu Star - Taylor
The journalist of your castle, who provides "scoops" on various happenings around the world.  When placed in your convoy he will give you readouts of enemy health, which can be somewhat useful.  He's no fighter though.
Rating: N/A

Chiaku Star - Nikea
Nikea is a hard-hitter who can combo up to five hits, but her built-in Boar rune isn't so great (weakening her accuracy for the rest of the fight) and she has no magical ability to speak of.  She can command a C-rank Infantry unit, but she's better served as a backup character, where she'll give the Charge ability.  A pretty good fighter, but you have better options available.
Rating: **

Chiko Star - Dongo
Dongo serves as your castle's blacksmith and improves weapons. And that's all there is to say!
Rating: N/A

Tenman Star - Dinn
Another relatively mundane front-line fighter; his stats are pretty average overall but he can equip heavy armor.  His Titan rune is nothing special, but he is a solid Cavalry/Ram leader in war battles (B-rank) and grants Charge.  Not much else to say.
Rating: **

Chizoku Star - Roy
The prince's impostor is, appropriately, basically similar to him but with weaker stats and the Thief skill, which causes him to steal a meager amount of Potch every time he lands a hit.  He does a bit better in war battles, leading a B-Rank Infantry unit and granting Charge, but overall there's just not much about him that stands out.  He gets some great moments in the story, at least.
Rating: **

Chisu Star - Faylon
His Strength stat is pretty impressive, but everything else about him is decidedly less so - only medium armor and the rest of his stats are average or lousy.  He's a mediocre war leader too (C-Rank Infantry), so he's probably not someone you'll use much, if at all.  Though he could theoretically be handy if you're looking to farm items, since he has the Treasure Hunt ability.
Rating: **

Chiin Star - Faylen
Marginally more useful than her brother, but still not great, Faylen is a long-range fighter with a surprisingly high Skill stat and three co-op attacks (with Faylon, Norma/Viki, and Lu/Shoon).  Still, if you're going treasure-hunting, she has that skill, so she can prove useful for that at least.
Rating: **

Chisyu Star - Linfa
Linfa plays Blind Man's Bluff at the castle with you, which isn't too great, and in war battles she grants Muddle, which also isn't too great.  Not much else to say.
Rating: N/A

Teni Star - Nakula
A mid-range fighter with good Strength and the ability to equip Heavy armor, and in war battles, a B-rank Cavalry leader who can also grant a Defense boost as a General.  Not a bad choice in either scenario, but there are better ones available.
Rating: **

Chikyou Star - Sagiri
A long-ranged fighter who can chain up to four hits and is modestly speedy.  In war battles she can grant a Speed bonus, as well as the Ambush ability, which lets you sneak in an attack without taking damage in return.  Not bad for what she is, but your back row spaces are probably going to be reserved for mages.
Rating: **

Chikyou Star - Fuwalafuwalu
The elder of the Beavers is a terror in sea battles, leading a Beaver unit that has an advantage against any type of ship and having the powerful healing effect of the Flowing rune.  Doesn't fight in smaller-scale battles, though.
Rating: N/A

Chima Star - Maroon
Like Fuwalafuwalu, he leads a Beaver unit in war battles, which is absolutely devastating to all types of ships.  He furthers this by having the Gnaw ability, which does damage and weakens a ship's defense to future attacks.  He does fight in smaller battles, but his average-to-mediocre stats do him no favors there.
Rating: **

Chii Star - Isabel
An impressive front-line fighter, sporting high Strength, Skill, 3-hit combos and the ability to equip heavy armor, as well as a powerful Unite attack with her partner Mathias.  Her Thunder Sword rune isn't very good, but you can always swap that out with something else to bolster her impressive stats.  In war battles she is a B-rank Spear/Ram unit, grants Charge, and a +5 Attack bonus as a general.
Rating: ***

Chiei Star - Mathias
Mathias isn't quite as adept a fighter as Isabel, but he does start out with a Cyclone rune and has passable (if not amazing) magic stats, making him slightly more versatile.  He does also get three slots, allowing for some twinkiness with Attack-boosting runes if that's your thing.  He doesn't lead in war battles, but does grant Charge and +5 Defense as a General, making him a good pair with Isabel there too.
Rating: **

Tenjyu Star - Bernadette
Bernadette is very much a mage character with her high Magic stat, but she is also a surprisingly decent long-range fighter with good Evasion and the ability to use mid-weight armor.  She even begins with a Flowing rune and gets two other slots in top, making her quite versatile.  In war battles she uses the Flowing rune to heal and can lead a B-rank Rune Archer unit.  Though she isn't quite as good with magic as say, Zerase or Jeane, you can potentially make her just as much a force to be reckoned with, as she can also equip a Magic Absorb rune.
Rating: ***

Chido Star - Byakuren
The other giant monster character, Byakuren has high innate HP and Strength stats and the ability to stun enemies, but no rune slots at all.  Slightly useful in that she's a low-maintenance character (no weapons to forge or armor to wear), but overall, you're always better off with two human characters in her place.
Rating: *

Chizou Star - Retso
Runs a restaurant at your castle and in your convoy, grants the Cook ability (which is functionally the same thing).  In war battles he grants Nourish, which grants slow HP regeneration to his unit (3 HP every 10 seconds).  Not a fighter.
Rating: N/A

Chisyu Star - Shun Min
Pretty much functionally identical to her dad, she Cooks, grants Nourish in war battles and doesn't fight.
Rating: N/A

Chiretsu Star - Miroon
Miroon runs the baths at your castle and is actually a fairly competent mage, especially with Wind and Water elements, and gets three rune slots to that effect.  In war battles she grants Rest (restoring 1 HP every 5 seconds) and works great as part of a Beaver unit.  Basically, one of the better Beavers.
Rating: ***

Chiku Star - Meroon
A mediocre copy of Miroon, who has passable magic stats but really not much else going for her.  She fares a bit better in war battles where she grants the Rest ability to a unit and can fight alongside the other Beavers as a ship-destroying behemoth.
Rating: **

Chibaku Star - Moroon
He has the rock star aesthetic, and is the best physical fighter among the Beavers, but that isn't saying much as his stats are still pretty mediocre on the whole.  In war battles he leads a B-rank Beaver unit and has Gnaw, which of course are great for tearing through ships in record time.
Rating: ***

Chisou Star - Babbage
Babbage is no fighter, but he does have the Treasure Hunt skill, which can be handy if you're searching for rare items.  In battle he can lead a C-rank Ballista unit or grant the Ballista ability, much like Sorensen.
Rating: N/A

Chikei Star - Lu
Lu is another non-magical long range fighter and comes with the non-removable Mischief rune, which isn't particularly great.  However, she does have a high Skill stat, and her crossbow-rifle is unique in that it can hit up to four times, letting her deal out substantial damage when well-trained.  Just keep her well out of harm's way, as her low HP and defense is no help to her survivability.
Rating: **

Chiken Star - Chisato
Chisato is an odd addition to your castle, as she lets you utilize various Voice Sets to change the protagonist's voice.  That's pretty much all she does, though.
Rating: N/A

Chitai Star - Nelis
Nelis is a long-range fighter who is good - but not great - at both magic and just plain fighting, and she starts out with a Rage rune, so it doesn't take much to get her dishing out the damage.  She can also lead a C-rank Archer unit or grant the Barrage ability in war battles (with the latter obviously being better).  Overall, a useful if not outstanding addition.
Rating: ***

Chisin Star - Yahr
Yahr isn't too impressive at a glance - his stats are mediocre all-around.  But he does have the unique Angry Dragon rune, which lets him deal double damage and can be used infinitely while berserk.  He also gets two other rune slots and can hit up to four times, so he can potentially dish out a lot of damage with the right setup.  But if you're not up for that, he is a decent (B-rank) Infantry leader in war battles and grants the Charge ability on top.
Rating: **

Chibi Star - Gavaya
Gavaya wears heavy armor, has decent strength and a lot of HP, can hit up to three times, and comes with the Minotaur rune, so he's another passable if not especially amazing front-line fighter (he does get three rune slots, but you'll have to get him to Level 55 to use them all).  In war battles, he leads a B-Rank Cavalry, grants Charge and has a +5 attack when used as a General.  So basically, another decent front-line fighter, but those are a dime a dozen in Suikoden V.
Rating: ***

Chiin Star - Miakis
Miakis is a short-range fighter with only okay strength and HP, but she can hit up to five times in a row with her daggers and gets quite a few parries, so she's quite capable in the role.  She does also have surprisingly decent magic stats and three Rune slots (starting with a Shield rune), making her useful in that role too.  In war battles she can lead a B-rank Infantry unit or grant a Speed boost as a General, and she has the Recover ability, giving her unit some more longevity.  A versatile and useful character in almost any situation.
Rating: ***

Chizen Star - Levi
A powerful mage character who has three slots to use, comes with some powerful runes out of the gate (Mother Earth and Pale Rune) that can be swapped out for even better ones, has high affinity with many elements and can even use Magic Absorb to power himself up further.  He leads a B-rank Archer unit in war battles and casts Rage, making him a solid choice in that role too.  Basically, one of the game's best mages, and therefore one of its best characters.
Rating: *****

Chisyu Star - Bergen
Levi's assistant is dreadful when it comes to magic, and as short-range fighters go, he isn't too impressive either.  However, he does have the Treasure Hunt ability, so he can be useful while hunting for rare items, and grants the Charge ability when he's on the battlefield, so he's at least somewhat handy.
Rating: **

Tenyu Star - Norma
Norma is good, but not great, in both roles in smaller fights, with average stats all-around and a weapon that can hit up to four times.  However, she does have the Potch Finder skill, letting you earn more money from battles, and in war battles she can grant Recovery to a unit.  Both things make her handy in a support role, if not especially great in an active one.
Rating: **

Tensatsu Star - Ernst
Ernst doesn't seem too great at a glance, and Suikoden's animal characters generally aren't.  However, he proves to be one of the game's deadliest characters owing to one very broken ability on his Beast rune - Resounding Roar, which unbalances all enemies on the field (even bosses) with a 100% success rate.  Basically, you can have him turn to human form and lock down the entire field for several turns while you swing away unimpeded.  It's a little tricky to set up as he actually has to survive for two turns first, but once you've got it set up, you've basically won.  In war battles he grants a Speed bonus as a general and the Recover ability, so he's handy there too.
Rating: ****

Chisatsu Star - Raven
Raven is a solid fighter with high Speed and Tech, but what really makes him into a game-breaker is his unique Raven Rune - with it, he acquires a 100% evasion rate against physical attacks whilst in a dungoen, ensuring that any enemy that doesn't use magic will never even touch him.  This even includes "outdoor" dungeons like the Waterfall Basin and the final ruins, so he makes a fantastic human shield whenever you're involved in a story mission.  Give him a Firefly Rune and let him get to work.  Oh, and in war battles he's a C-rank Infantry, or grants a +2 Speed bonus as a General and has the Muddle ability.
Rating: ****

Tenyu Star - Galleon
Galleon has the highest innate defense of any (human) character and can train his skill in it all the way up to SS, so he's pretty great at tanking damage (and not too shabby at dishing it out, either).  This carries over to war battles too, where can grant a +9 Defense to his unit as a General, or work as a B-rank Spear Infantry with the Charge ability otherwise.  He may be outclassed in the role by Richard and Raven, but if you need a third tank, he's a solid pick.
Rating: ***

Tensyo Star - Haswar
As a story relevant character, Haswar has a lot to offer.  In terms of gameplay, though, she only gives you the Rest ability during war battles.
Rating: N/A

Tenritsu Star - Isato
Relatively sturdy as long-range characters go, surprisingly decent with magic, and he has the Great Hawk rune which damages all enemies on the field, making him a decent weak enemy sweeper.  Leads a B-rank archer unit in war battles and grants Barrage too.
Rating: ***

Chisou Star - Urda
Urda is very similar to Isato, save that she can only play a supportive role in war battles.  Still, if you're going to use her, pair her with Isato for best results, as they get a Unite attack that lets them mop up the field pretty quickly.
Rating: ***

Tenfu Star - Eresh
One of two characters that occupies the Tenfu Star slot, Eresh is an impressive mage with a ridiculously high Magic stat and high affinities with all elements; however, her usefulness is hampered by having two non-removable runes, neither of which is great late in the game (Resurrection and Pale Gate).  She can do a lot for you if you get her as soon as possible, but late game, you probably want to swap her out for someone else.  Though she does make a good leader on the battlefield, leading a Rune Archer unit and casting the Thunder spell.
Rating: ***

Tenfu Star - Euram Barows
Yes, Euram is the other candidate for this slot, and while it is slightly more fulfilling from a storyline aspect to get him, he's definitely the far less useful character.  He only works as a supporter in war battles, providing the none-too-useful Rumors ability.
Rating: N/A

Chiku Star - Hazuki
Belcoot's rival doesn't quite have his raw strength, but has very high skill and speed and the Sickle rune, which lets her damage everything between her and her target.  Leads a B-rank Infantry unit in war battles and grants Charge, so she's decent there too.  Another good but not-great front liner.
Rating: **

Tensoku Star - Cathari
Cathari is an odd case - she has incredible Strength, Skill, Speed and Luck stats (all the best in the game), but her base damage output is hampered by her weapon's ability to only land one hit per turn.  Still, she does get quite a few criticals owing to her ridiculous stats, and she also has two extra rune slots, letting you stack up other damage-augmenting effects with Boost, Double-Edged or Fury runes.  Her unique Godspeed rune allows the party to always flee from battle, letting you free up a slot in your convoy for another support character, and in war battles grants her unit a +2 Speed bonus.  Basically, if you need things dead fast, Cathari is a solid choice.
Rating: ***

Chisa Star - Rania
Rania lets you change system sounds, and when you have her in your convoy, she changes the battle theme too.  A novel idea, but she's no fighter.
Rating: N/A

Tenbi Star - Killey
Killey is ostensibly a mage as he comes with a Rage rune, but he doesn't really have amazing stats to that effect. His Strength, Skill and Speed stats are impressive, but hampered by the fact that his weapon can only hit once a turn.  However, he can be a game-breaker with some work as he gets three fully-customizable Rune slots, which grants him a great deal of versatility as well as the ability to stack three (!) damage-doubling rune effects on top of each other, letting his dinky throwing knife hit for upwards of 3000 damage each turn.  But if you're going to go that route, be sure to keep him out of harm's way, as so much as a stiff breeze will knock him dead.
Rating: ****

Chizuku Star - Wabon
A passable fighter with good HP, Strength and Skill, but his real value comes through in his Forge skill, which lets you sharpen weapons in the field - handy for getting characters up-to-speed in the midst of a dungeon without having to redo the whole thing.  Grants Charge in war battles, too.
Rating: **

Chibun Star - Gunde
Similar to Wabon in most respects, with good fighting-oriented stats and Charge, but no ability to forge.
Rating: **

Chiki Star - Rahal
Okay fighter, decent mage, but he does get three rune slots (which is twinky) and in war battles he has the Muddle and Speed+2 abilities (but is a mediocre, C-rank Infantry leader).  Not bad, but for how late you get him, not particularly good either.
Rating: **

Chimou Star - Roog
Lots of HP and a high Evasion score, as well as three Rune slots, make Roog a pretty decent front-liner.  But his real value is in war, where he leads a Dragon Horse Cavalry unit that is decent on land, but absolutely devastating to any and all ships.  Team him up with the Beavers and let him win every sea battle for you.
Rating: ***

Teni Star - Georg Prime
If Raven and Richard are the human brick walls, Georg Prime is the human steamroller.  Strength, Skill and HP are all high, and his speed and evasion aren't bad either.  But more than that, he gets a lot of parries and counters, and his built in Killer rune ensures he'll be doing a ton of damage every time he swings his sword (with his high Luck ensuring a lot of Critical Hits and instant kills).  Only get two rune slots so he's not as twinky as some, but still, a Double Edge rune will only further his ridiculous damage output.  There's a reason the game doesn't let you use Georg too much - he's just too good.
Rating: ****

Tenyu Star - Craig Laden
Craig doesn't fight on foot, but on the battlefield he is easily among your best, leading an A-rank Dragon Cavalry unit that tears up ships like no other.  Sea domination, and capable of fighting on land in a pinch, make him a fantastic leader to have.
Rating: N/A

Tenson Star - Flail
A Dragon Horse who sports high innate strength and defense and average stats elsewhere, as well as a rune at Level 45.  No great substitute for a fully-trained and armed human character, but if you're strapped for cash, she might be worth using.
Rating: **

Tenhei Star - Lance
Another Dragon horse, this time with more strength but less defense.  Not all that dissimilar from Flail, and by the same measure, not all that great.
Rating: **

Tensui Star - Nick
A late-game character who starts at a low level isn't very impressive, and is even less so when you find his stats are mediocre across the board.  He does get three Rune slots, but there are better choices for that brand of twinkiness too.  You'll probably put him to work in war battles as part of a Dragon Cavalry unit (where he grants Charge and a +1 Speed bonus as a General), but other than that: Meh.
Rating: *

Tenku Star - Ax
A third dragon horse with okay stats, but uniquely, he gets three Rune slots.  Still, that's not really enough to save him from being another mediocre beast-type.
Rating: **

Tenrou Star - Yoran
Yoran unlocks the Dragon Racing minigame at your castle, and grants the Survival ability in war battles.  That's... about it.
Rating: N/A

Chikou Star - Haleth
In your convoy, Haleth has the Haggle ability, which lets you get better prices while buying and selling.  That's the only thing he does.
Rating: N/A

Tenkyu Star - Shula Valya
Shula Valya comes late in the game, but proves to be a valuable asset in the remaining war battles, leading an A-rank Cavalry/Ram unit with the Charge ability.  As you're rather severely outnumbered in the late-game fights, any help you can muster will definitely be welcome.
Rating: N/A

Chimei Star - Nifsara
Ho hum, an average mid-range fighter who leads a B-rank Cavalry unit, grants Charge and Speed +1 as a General.  Nothing we haven't seen before.
Rating: **

Chii Star - Sharmista
Decent long-range fighter with passable magic stats, leads a B-rank Cavalry and grants Charge.  Nothing inherently wrong with any of those things, but considering she comes very late in the game and you have several other characters who can do what she does better, you probably won't use her.
Rating: **

Tentai Star - Shoon
One of the first characters you meet in the game, but one of the last (if not the very last) to join, Shoon is a capable short-range fighter, dealing out combos and counters with relative consistency, and his Fierce Tiger rune lets him dish out double damage.  You probably won't bother with him much, but he can come in handy as a General, where he grants a +5 Attack bonus and Charge.
Rating: **

Suikoden V Part 17 (Finale)

The Sun Force

Watch Suikoden V Part 17 (Finale) from spoonshiro on www.twitch.tv

And if you're curious, what gets carried over to New Game + is:

  • Party SP
  • Items/Runes in Storage and Inventory that were not equipped, other than the Sun gear from the final dungeon
  • Epic Skills and Tactics found
  • Money
  • Combat/Magic books found
  • You can now hold down L2 to run faster (why wasn't this in the game by default?  Sheesh)

Suikoden V Part 16

Warfare comes to an end

Watch Suikoden V Part 16 from spoonshiro on www.twitch.tv